Most of us are familiar with the increasingly popular gluten-free trend that’s popping up across restaurants and grocery stores nationwide. With claimed benefits including improved health, weight loss, and increased energy, it’s no wonder why we’ve heard more people touting the phrase, “I’m going gluten-free.” In fact, 67% of millennials believe going gluten-free is healthy. But, what if we told you there are some adverse risks to completely eliminating gluten from your diet? Before you jump on board, here are four things you should know before saying no to gluten.
While it’s widely referred to as a “healthier diet,” there’s actually little clinical evidence demonstrating the benefits of a gluten-free diet for the general population. According to the Mayo Clinic, most clinical studies regarding gluten-free diets have been conducted with people who have celiac disease. Those who are more sensitive to the protein gluten may see improvements when eliminating it from their diet, but larger portions of the population are unlikely to notice significant benefits.
Having a restricted diet can be tricky. So, before you decide to go gluten-free, it’s important to be aware it’s likely to lead to nutritional deficiencies. Breads and cereals are packed with vitamin B nutrients, not to mention whole wheat is a great source of fiber. It’s also important to note that gluten-free processed foods often aren’t supplemented with extra nutrients like folate, iron and Vitamin D, so it’s important to consider taking a gluten-free multivitamin-multimineral.
Eliminating gluten will hurt more than just your nutritional intake, it’s likely to impact your wallet too. According to a recent study by the Journal of Human and Nutritional Dietetics, gluten-free foods are 159 percent more expensive than regular foods The study also revealed they aren’t as healthy either, which is largely due to the stripping of key nutrients as mentioned above.
People who restrict themselves to a gluten-free diet have a greater exposure to toxic metals, such as arsenic and mercury, which if not monitored, can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological effects. As reported by Scientific Daily, people who claimed to be gluten-free dieters had arsenic levels that were twice as high than those who consumed gluten and mercury levels were a shocking 70 percent higher.
At the end of the day, eliminating things from our diet that cause discomfort is never a bad idea. That said, it’s important to consider all of the facts before deciding to jump on the gluten-free diet bandwagon. With more studies coming out providing that gluten-free isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, it’s still a viable option for those who are in fact allergic to the protein. We suggest consulting your physician before drastically changing your diet. They can properly test to see if you have trouble processing gluten. Otherwise, when it comes to a healthy, balanced diet, in most cases it’s important to consider everything in moderation.